The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will not take part in this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for Covid-19. Hamilton is the third F1 driver to test positive for the virus after Sergio Perez (prior to the British Grand Prix) and Lance Stroll (prior to the Eifel Grand Prix) this year.

In an official statement, the Mercedes F1 team stated that Hamilton was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme.

However, the seven-time world champion woke up on Monday with mild symptoms and was informed that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Following this, a further test was done which returned a positive result, and this has since been confirmed by a retest.

As per Covid-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain, Hamilton is now in isolation and apart from mild symptoms, the team says he is otherwise fit and well. With this development, Hamilton’s participation in the final race of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi remains in doubt, as a negative test is required before he is allowed to return to the paddock.

For now, the Mercedes F1 team has yet to confirm who will replace Hamilton for this weekend. Candidates include the team’s reserve drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez, with the former likely being the first-choice driver.

Another possibility is to call upon the services of Nico Hülkenberg, who stood in for Perez and Stroll at Racing Point F1 Team for three races in 2020. George Russell, who is part of Mercedes’ young driver programme, can also be enlisted, although this would require permission from his active team, Williams.